New York Post
February 6, 2002

RUDY'S 'DAMAGED' IMAGE

By ROBERT HARDT Jr. and LOU LUMENICK

The leaders of three police and firefighter unions are blasting former Mayor Giuliani for using his Twin Towers charity fund to help promote tonight's gala opening of a controversial new Arnold Schwarzenegger film.

"While we have nothing against Mr. Schwarzenegger and his movie, we consider it exploitative and in bad taste to promote the film by associating it with the tragedy of Sept. 11," said PBA President Pat Lynch.

Lynch — as well as the leaders of the fire officers union and the union that represents Fire Department paramedics — are angered over the fact that Giuliani is celebrating the Hollywood star at the opening of his $100 million film "Collateral Damage."

In a press release touting the Ziegfeld Theatre event, Warner Bros. boasts of Giuliani's appearance "with police, firefighters and EMS workers, in association with the Twin Towers Fund and Twin Towers Board."

The $150 million fund — established by Giuliani when he was mayor — got a $1 million donation last September from Schwarzenegger, who is also an unpaid member of the charity's board.

Giuliani packed the fund's board with friends and supporters — including gal-pal Judith Nathan — during his effort to take over the charity after he left office. The takeover is expected to be approved shortly.

The film — about a Los Angeles firefighter whose family is killed by Colombian terrorists — had its initial, Oct. 5 release date pushed back following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the city.

Bob Ungar, a spokesman for the uniformed EMTs and paramedics union, said: "It's disgusting that a movie opening would exploit the tragedy, firefighters and their families."

Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Pete Gorman also was critical of Giuliani's role in the event, saying: "It saddens us any time a tragedy is used to promote anything like a movie."

Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel said the former mayor's appearance with the action-movie star tonight is completely appropriate.

"The mayor plans on publicly acknowledging and thanking Arnold Schwarzenegger for his incredible support of the rescue workers in the aftermath of Sept. 11," said Mindel, who also noted the Hollywood star privately met with many firefighters and cops after the terror attack.

"In addition, he very generously donated $1 million to the Twin Towers fund that goes to the survivors of those firefighters, police officers and EMS and rescue workers who made the ultimate sacrifice," she said.

Fund president Larry Levy said the charity's only connection with the gala is that about 650 tickets have been donated by Warner Bros. to be distributed to firefighters and cops - with an additional 50 tickets given to the fund's staff.

"We're not sponsoring the event, and we're not getting any money from the event," Levy said.